For 27 years, Sue Harter organized the Waukesha JanBoree and helped it grow into one of the most popular winter festivals in the state.
The JanBoree was her baby.
Harter retired a few weeks before the start of last year's event and now Joanna Adamicki, special events coordinator for the Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, is in charge. She is loving how this year's JanBoree, which returns this weekend, is taking shape.
"Everything has been going great so far," said Adamicki, who helped Harter on various tasks during previous JanBorees. "Everyone has been very cooperative and goingsmoothly."
The only thing that needs to cooperate, however, is the weather.
Like last year, snow has been relatively scarce so far this winter season.
But Adamicki is hoping that what happens last year (the city got a nice fresh coat of snow the days before the JanBoree) happens again this year.
As of Tuesday, little snow was in the forecast but temperatures should be near the freezing mark all weekend.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed," Adamicki said. "But it seems to work out."
Adamicki said to check the JanBoree's website, www.janboree.org, if any events get canceled due to the weather.
Even so, Adamicki noted that there are plenty of indoor events for people to enjoy as well.
One is the new "We Put the Fire in Fire & Ice" show Friday at Waukesha North High School. Shows are at 6 and 7:15 p.m. at the North Auditorium.
Others are the indoor ice skating events at two locations across Waukesha County on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There will be a skate night from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Eble Ice Arena, 19400 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, and again from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Nagawaukee Ice Arena, 2946 Golf Road, Delafield.
Other events, Adamicki highlighted, include the new ice sculpting demo during the opening ceremonies.
From 3 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at Lowell Park, 2201 Michigan Ave., two world-class ice carvers will incorporate this year's theme of Fire and Ice by transforming a 1,200-pound block of ice into a fire-breathing dragon.
And at night, the popular fireworks show takes place from 8 to 8:15 p.m. in Lowell Park.
"They're so nice in the winter air," Adamicki said. "Being so cold out, they hang in the air differently than during the summer show."
In total, 10 of the 35 events are new this year, including the ice bocce ball tournament and the polka hop at the Waukesha Elks Lodge, 2301 Springdale Road.
"We try to bring in a few new events every year and then see what works and what doesn't," Adamicki said.
But an event wouldn't take place for almost three decades if it weren't for longstanding activities such as the annual ice sculpting contest in downtown Waukesha that will take place throughout the day on Saturday and the toboggan runs at Lowell Park.
As a way to make sure sledding occurs at Lowell Park, Adamicki said the Parks Department has been making snow since Thursday morning.
Adamicki said there will be 26 ice sculptures in downtown, a few more than last year.
"I think we have a nice mix of events, both indoors and outdoors, and it's for all ages," Adamicki said when asked about the JanBoree's longevity. "There's great interest from the community and our partners have given us a lot of support.
"It's just a great way to celebrate Wisconsin's winter weather."
At a glance
What: Waukesha JanBoree
When: Friday through Sunday at various locations in Waukesha County
(Opening ceremonies are from 3 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Lowell Park, 2201 Michigan Ave. with live weather broadcasts from TMJ4 Chief Meteorologist John Malan and concluding with a fireworks show at 8 p.m.)
Fact: 35 events, 10 of which are new in 2013
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